Restoring life chances


In the last blog I was full of enthusiasm for England’s chances in the World Cup. As we all know they made a pretty swift exit. Despite all the negative press they received, at least they tried. Both of their defeats were marginal and in the end only one team will win.

As the great Charlie Chaplin once said:

‘Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself’.

The England team might feel a tad embarrassed. However, they can now go on holiday and return to their clubs and carry on with their careers.

Not all children are going to be top of the class. Not all children will be fortunate enough to be born into a family that values education. Moreover, not all children will be fortunate enough to have a family or a stable environment.

Over the years I have worked with many Children who are Looked After (CLA) Often they were moved out of area. Sometimes they had complex needs and unenviable backgrounds. Nevertheless, like all young people they want attention.  They need positive role models, they also need and deserve a good education.

The fact is, many of our CLA are not all given these very basic requirements.

Even more worrying is that they can quite easily become criminalised whilst in the CLA System.

If a young person who lives at home, challenges the authority of their parents through breaking property in the home (criminal damage) or physically pushing a parent (assault) then it is often dealt with in house.

Sadly when this happens in a CLA home it is often dealt with through the Criminal Justice System. This can result in a criminal record, which can have far reaching effects on life chances. For instance, a 12 year old girl who physically assaults a care worker will have to declare this in later life when applying for a job.  Therefore many adults who were once CLA are prevented from working in that field.

Surely it is time to review the way that young people are criminalised. We all make mistakes, especially when we are young.

The England team can now move on.  They still have their jobs and there will be another World Cup.

Lets use Restorative Approaches so that our young people get the chance to move on.

I’ll be in London next month working with a group of CLA. The venue is where a young Charlie Chaplin was brought up in a workhouse.  I love my job.